Gleneagles - Captain Paul McGinley described each of his players as "a colossus" after holders Europe won the Ryder Cup for the eighth time in 10 editions on Sunday.
Welsh rookie Jamie Donaldson secured the trophy for the home team on the 15th green by beating former US PGA champion Keegan Bradley 4 & 3.
"Proud is the first word," McGinley said as he embraced the smiling Donaldson.
"I want to say it's been a real honour to get these 12 players...they have all been a colossus, all of them, the caddies, the backroom team, five vice captains, it's been a huge team effort.
"This ugly face," McGinley said of Donaldson. "To see how happy he is, and the pride that we give to everybody and the happiness of the people in the stands...I'm giving it for everybody else, it's not for me.
"Playing is something very, very special and I said to the guys last night (on Saturday), as much as I've enjoyed captain, it's different than playing. Enjoy it, be out there and enjoy it, because the days happen so quick and they go. It's been a real great honour."
McGinley's American counterpart Tom Watson said the key to the outcome was Europe's two 3 1/2-point hauls from the foursomes sessions.
"The real difference was the foursomes," said the US skipper.
"The combined scores for our team in foursomes were really, really high compared to theirs.
"We made them think about us early on in the singles and then they turned it on but the foursomes play is what separated the two teams."
Asked what he would tell his team, Watson replied: "You played your best but it wasn't good enough. You've got to find out what it takes to play a little bit better".
Spaniard Sergio Garcia, who beat Cup veteran Jim Furyk one-up, led a chorus of tributes for McGinley from the European players.
"Paul McGinley was so methodical, touching on every area that he needed to," said Garcia.
"I have been fortunate to have some great captains, but Paul did things differently and in great style.
"He was a little bit more modern, looking into little things that we could do better and he has been on at me for months about how much he wants me to be in his team. That helped me play well."
Northern Irish world number one Rory McIlroy was also fulsome in his praise for McGinley.
"I cannot speak highly enough of the captain," he said. "Paul McGinley has left no stone unturned.
"Everything has tied in, from the people he has got to come and talk to us to the imagery and messages in the team room. He has been planning these days for the last two years."
England's Ian Poulter, who halved his singles match with Webb Simpson, said: "The US came at us hard this morning (on Sunday), like we expected, but Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose managed to turn their matches around. It is just incredible.
"The captain (McGinley) was superb - from the images on the team room walls to the way he treated everyone just the same.
"The way that Rory (McIlroy) did it today (on Sunday) was enormously impressive. He pressed it home all the way from the start.
"There weren't enough big moments from me, but it's not about the players, it's about the team."
McIlroy, playing in the third match of the day, producing a dazzling performance as he crushed close friend Rickie Fowler 5 & 4 to spearhead Europe's victory push.
McDowell set the tone in the top match by coming from three down to beat Jordan Spieth 2 & 1.
"This tournament does something to you." he said. "It's very, very special and we are all very proud to wear the European shirt and play for each other.
"The special bonds that you form in the team room...you play for each other and it's very special. You don't want to let each other down and I think that's why you see emotion from players that you don't expect to see." Europe 16 1/2 United States 11 1/2
Collated results in the Ryder Cup singles:
Rory McIlroy (Europe) bt Rickie Fowler (US) 5 and 4
Graeme McDowell (Europe) bt Jordan Spieth (US) 2 and 1
Patrik Reed (US) bt Henrik Stenson (Europe) 1-up
Martin Kaymer (Europe) bt Bubba Watson (US) 4 and 2
Phil Mickelson (US) bt Stephen Gallacher (Europe) 2-up
Matt Kuchar (US) bt Thomas Bjorn (Europe) 4 and 3
Justin Rose (Europe) halved with Hunter Mahan (US)
Jamie Donaldson (Europe) bt Keegan Bradley (US) 4 and 3
Sergio Garcia (Europe) bt Jim Furyk (US) 1-up
Jimmy Walker (US) bt Lee Westwood (Europe) 3 and 2
Ian Poulter (Europe) halved with Webb Simpson (US)
Victor Dubuisson (Europe) halved with Zach Johnson (US)